In order to grow up, you have to take your parents off the pedestal or out of the ditch. Most of you have either written your parents off as awful and focus on how you are different, or you still think your parents are somehow god-like and not subject to all the human phenomena you are (like failures, mistakes, bad traits, humility, remorse, regret, wishes, hopes, the ability to change). Either way, you aren’t talking to them and you aren’t teaching them and you aren’t grown up yet.
I challenge you to care enough to start talking. I challenge you to impress yourself in your own life enough that you would have something to teach. By that I mean to go ahead and surpass your parents (they’ll ultimately be pleased.) Go ahead, be smarter in love, be more patient with your children, pursue what you really want to do for work, stick to a budget, stop berating your body and start eating healthfully. Do the work to sort out something in your life that they never did. That will give you the presence of mind and courage to circle back to them.
In my life right now, I’m all about developing courage, believing that I can change the world. For some reason being able to talk straight to my father about my opinions, my feelings and my anger at his smoking has everything to do with my ability to be the leader I want to be in my life. Can you see the connection? If you can’t be a grown-up with your parents, are you really a grown-up? If you can’t claim, own and fight for your dream with your parents, can you ever fully believe it?
So many of you are stuck in a sort of vague sense that you cannot have what you want, that you are not good enough somehow. At the Handel Group we think this has a lot to do with how you’ve “connected the dots” of your life. Looking starkly at who your parents are and what you really have to ask and say to them is the beginning of “reconnecting the dots.” Even just telling your parents about what you struggle with and what you are overcoming releases something in you. A next step would be asking your parents to tell you about their lives, either their past, the decisions you are curious about or even their present day. You have to want to start hearing and telling the truth for this to work. You have to believe it will help you and you have to care enough to prove to them it’s safe to talk to you.
Once the ball gets rolling, most parents WANT to be human in their children’s eyes, most parents want the chance to explain things that might have hurt you, to own up to and be forgiven for mistakes, and to be free to tell you what they really think without shattering illusions or being looked down on. Imagine allowing your parents to be that with you, and how much more mature it will make YOU feel.
This is a big topic and I may continue it in another blog or share how my conversations are going with my Pops, but I think this is enough to get you thinking (and maybe wishing I’d stop talking about something that may be so awkward or scary). You’ll help me a lot if you write in about miraculous, life changing conversations you’ve had with your parents. Please help me muster a good argument for why to do this before anyone is on a deathbed or before it’s too late. I also want to hear about how these conversations have affected your life. Attach comments to the blog fast.
P.S.- If one or both of your parents have passed away, it doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them (I bet you knew that). Consider talking with someone who is alive who knew them and who might act as a surrogate.
P.P.S- If this blog wasn’t too deep or upsetting to you, you might love the Design Your Life Weekend. They are deep, comprehensive and fast. You will “get” your parents on a whole new level, not to mention yourself!